Vignette 1: Jung Recounts the Story of the Golden Scarab Beetle
“A young woman I was treating had, at a critical moment, a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. While she was telling me this dream, I sat with my back to the closed window. Suddenly I heard a noise behind me, like a gentle tapping. I turned round and saw a flying insect knocking against the window-pane from the outside. I opened the window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in. It was the nearest analogy to a golden scarab one finds in our latitudes, a scarabaeid beetle, the common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), which, contrary to its usual habits had evidently felt the urge to get into a dark room at this particular moment. I must admit that nothing like it ever happened to me before or since.”
I have honored the place of synchronicity in my life for a very long time. Five years ago my explanation of Carl Jung’s theory was met with incomprehension by a spiritual companion, so I gave her the example of Jung’s scarab beetle at the window. When I finished the story my companion reached into her bag and pulled out a photo of a beetle which she had taken the day before. “And here is your beetle,” she said.
Vignette 3: Yesterday’s Synchronicity
I began my writing session as I always do, with an invocation to Spirit, a request to show me the greatest good for myself and my blogging community. I came upon Mary Oliver’s poem, “Prayer” about casting the ashes of a beloved one upon the wild foam of waves. An hour after publication I heard from a friend I had not heard from for a while; a friend who had just cast precious ashes upon waves.
And the only thing I did was pay attention. We are profoundly connected. Listen.
Soon we live again exuberant and relieved; But now we do a strange Lindy Hop In a marathon not of our making, We drag our weary bodies and souls behind us Waiting for the Big Band to play the last note, Releasing us from our dis-ease.
We yearn to dance again with abandon; But in the time between we endure, Faithful to this dance here and now. Learning the steps as we go Leaning against one another, Cheering on, crying with. Tomorrow’s dance is for tomorrow. Dance today.
This poem by Wendell Berry, simple in the stark power it offers, has become the center piece in the Advent rituals of Seattle Mennonite Church (https://seattlemennonite.org). This season is offering me the opportunity to identify what is blooming in me now. Not what will bloom when covid passes. What booms now.
Berry’s poem invites us to fear not those ubiquitous travelers, dark feet and dark wings, for they are the essence of our humanity. They are the redeemed coals that smolder in the cauldrons of our souls, the sparks of light we bring into the dark and out of the dark.
Breathing in I become the dark. Breathing out I disperse light.
Breathing in I receive the bloom. Breathing out I release despair.
Breathing in I am peace. Breathing out I release anxiety.